Will campaigns like 'Hang Tuff Don't Puff' be enough?

By Tema Hemi

The 'Hang Tuff Don't Puff' challenge for workplaces is the latest programme to help employees quit smoking. Despite its successful quit rate since starting in 2016, will Government-funded programmes like 'Hang Tuff Don't Puff' be able to help reach our national 2025 smokefree goal?

Counties-Manukau Health smokefree advocates have visited 50 businesses across the Auckland region over the last year in an effort to help smokers quit. 

Sarah Te Ao finally quit smoking after 12 years of trying - Photo / File

Statistics show young Māori women are still at the wrong end of the "scale". 

Mother-of-two Sarah Te Ao had ongoing health issues, and constant badgering from her kids saw her finally give up smoking this October after trying for 12 years.

She admits, "I'm saving at least $230 a week, I can breathe a lot better now."

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Smoking rates across Aotearoa overall have dropped by 25% in the last two decades - Photo / File

While Māori smoking rates overall remain a concern, smoking rates across Aotearoa overall have dropped by 25% in the last two decades. 

Living Smokefree Services Health Promoter, Diana Uele, says, "We've been able to help 151 employees become smokefree and 71 percent of that are Māori and Pacific. I think we're getting there but there's still a lot more to do and we have to work together with workplaces, government and everyone together to achieve that goal."

Uele says, "It's really cool to see that it's declining, I would like to see it decline even more by 2025."

Hang Tuff Don't Puff hope to double referrals to 10,000 within next 12 months - Photo / File

But in order to reach the 2025 goal of a smokefree Aotearoa, campaigns like 'Hang Tuff Don't Puff' would need to get over 600,000 people to give up in the next six years.

The programme's staff know they're no "silver bullet" solution but have a lofty goal of doubling referrals from 5000 to 10,000 within the next 12 months.